The Value of Creating a Personal Board of Directors


Chief Vision Officer and Founder of Keystone Group International.

Who sits on your personal board of directors? For most of us, this question would make us pause. We all have people who are mentors and influencers in our lives, but most of us haven’t thought about the group of people who are really our personal advisors – the people we trust, who have achieved what we are trying to achieve and are there always to support us.

As we navigate the current climate, many leaders are experiencing levels of burnout and fatigue that we have never experienced before. Fortunately, there is probably something we can do to help, something we already have around us. One solution I recommend to all my coaching clients is to create a personalized board of directors that is there to support you on your journey.

The great thing is that most of us already have these people in our lives; we just don’t maximize their impact. Here are a few requirements from people who sit on your personal board of directors.

1. They shift and challenge. They must be good at changing your perspective and challenging your thinking. The only way to get through a stuck point is to look at it differently than when you got into it.

2. They incite action. While some of the value they provide is reminiscent of therapy, you also want people who are going to ask you what action you are going to take. This ensures that you can assess the situation and at the same time make a plan to move forward.

3. They build trust and listen. The members of your personal board of directors should be people you trust. They know you; you trust them and they can say what to say to help you. They also need to be a good listener and a safe place for you to share all the ups and downs of your journey.

Hopefully, you will begin to identify those people who are already in your life and likely to play this role for you. The next step is to formalize the relationship and let them know what they mean to you and how they can help you even more than they already do. Here are a few recommendations on how to effectively put together your personal board of directors.

1. Have a contract. This may sound super formal, but it’s important to have a conversation and an oral (or written) contract about the relationship. Include things like engagement rules, proposed support commitment, and the role you want them to play – challenger, advocate, etc. Make sure they understand your needs and are committed to being a part of your board. The clearer the expectations up front, the more value the relationship can bring to both of you.

2. Keep your agreements. Whether it’s planning the frequency of the meetings or making sure you take the actions seriously and wrap them up before your next conversation, make sure you keep your commitments to the relationship so they feel it adds value for you and for them.

3. Be honest. If it doesn’t work, say so. Let them do the same. Check regularly if it’s still something they want to do and share the impact it has for you. If you need to adjust things, or remove them from your plate, that’s fine too. It is important that both parties feel that they can challenge the commitment if necessary.

A personal board of directors can be the missing part to help you manage your energy in chaotic times, and it can also encourage you to grow and evolve as a leader and as a person. Don’t underestimate the power of the circle around you and make sure you do everything you can to get the highest possible return from relationships. Business Council is the leading growth and networking organization for entrepreneurs and leaders. Am I eligible?


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